High-Fat or High-Carb Breakfast?

Our resident nutrition expert has the answers to your breakfast diet questions and concerns.
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Our resident nutrition expert has the answers to your breakfast diet questions and concerns.

Searching for a healthy breakfast option? Try 5 Combos for the Ultimate Power Breakfast.

What's this I read about bacon being better breakfast than bagels? It sounds ridiculous. Is it true?

Well, I’m not sure bagels were ever a good breakfast in the first place, but here’s the story behind what you’ve read. A recent study at the University of Alabama did in fact show that a high-fat breakfast had certain metabolic advantages over a high-carb one.

Researchers fed mice one of two breakfasts – high carb or high fat. They found that the mice that ate a high-carb breakfast gained more weight and more belly fat. The high-carb mice also had decreased glucose tolerance and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The mice that ate the high-fat breakfast had no such problems and had normal measurements on every scale of mouse health that would correspond to cardiovascular risk in humans.

According to the researchers, the high-fat breakfast in some way “programs” the body to be able to burn both carbs and fats. In contrast, a high-carb breakfast sets you up to be a great carb burner. But fat burning? Not so much.

In my opinion, the study confirms what I’ve been saying for years: A breakfast should have adequate protein and fat and not just be a carb-fest of cereal, toast, juice and fruit. The study doesn’t necessarily mean that bacon is a good, clean food. In fact, it may be highly questionable thanks to its high nitrite content. (Under high heat conditions, the nitrite converts into nitrosamine, which has been shown to be carcinogenic.) But the study does mean that it’s time to consider whether throwing out the yolks in your eggs is such a great idea.

See also The 20 Most Powerful Superfoods of the Moment